People experiencing or at risk of homelessness in Victoria now have access to 46 new homes with around-the-clock supports.
The Juniper, located at 1176 Yates St., is a a six-storey, purpose-built modular housing building with 46 studio units. Each unit includes a private washroom, shower and kitchenette with a full-size fridge. Four of the units are wheelchair accessible.
“The Juniper marks another step in our work to break the cycle of homelessness in Victoria and across the province,” said Ravi Kahlon, Minister of Housing, in a release.
“This building is part of our ongoing work with community partners to make sure people experiencing homelessness have access to safe, secure homes with the crucial supports they need, in addition to safe and stable housing.”
Though there are 46 new studio units opening, up to 42 of them will already be claimed as residents from Mount Tolmie Hospital will be moving into the building, as the lease at Mount Tolmie ends on Nov. 30. Mount Tolmie had 42 beds.
PHS Community Services Society will operate the building.
PHS will provide residents with support services, including 24/7 staffing, life-skills training, security, employment assistance and counselling, physical and mental-health resources, meals, and referrals to addiction treatment and recovery services.
“We’re excited for the opening of these much-needed supportive housing units. Being housed at The Juniper will hugely improve the lives of many vulnerable people,” said Avery Taylor, director of PHS, Victoria operations.
The province, through BC Housing, provided approximately $15 million to the project through Building BC: Supportive Housing Fund and will provide annual operating funding.
The Juniper is part of B.C.’s ongoing commitment to build new homes for people in need.
It is the fifth of six new projects that will deliver more than 280 permanent supportive homes for people experiencing homelessness across the capital region.
“We know from experience that supportive housing makes a real difference for the residents and for communities, which is why I’m so pleased to see doors open on The Juniper,” said Grace Lore, MLA for Victoria-Beacon Hill.
The new homes on Yates Street are part of a $19 billion housing investment by the province.
Since 2017, the government has more than 77,000 homes that have been delivered or are underway, including more than 3,000 homes in Victoria.